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UMM receives grant to develop gasification technology, workforce

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The University of Minnesota, Morris' Continuing Education program was awarded a grant of $174,258 by the Renewable Energy Marketplace - Alliance for Talent Development (MNREM) initiative.

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The funding will be used to develop new curriculum in biomass gasification technology which will serve participants during an intensive three-week pilot to be offered in May 2009 on the Morris campus.

Participants will include four-year students from Morris, two-year students from Minnesota West Community and Technical College, undergraduate students from other institutions and working adults who seek training and employment in biomass gasification.

The Morris campus will develop biomass gasification technology curriculum through a unique partnership with Minnesota West, the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center, Nova-Tech Engineering, Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc. - Architects and Engineers and Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program.

Morris' industry partners -- HGA and Nova-Tech -- have experience and expertise in biomass development and will guide the curriculum development to ensure that the course meets the needs of current and prospective employers.

MNREM is one of 39 regional projects throughout the country that is funded through the United States Department of Labor WIRED -- Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development -- Initiative.

The U. S. Department of Labor-funded initiative is intended to aid in developing long-term sustainable economic vitality and allowing the U.S. to compete in a global economy through the attraction, creation and retention of an educated and skilled workforce.

MNREM proposals were solicited from businesses and organizations in the 36-county MNREM region to present innovative concepts for addressing the talent development needs to transform the region from primarily agriculture-dependent to a knowledge and innovation-based economy that capitalizes on the region's strength in agriculture and renewable/alternative energy.

For more information about the Morris course, ESci 1131 Renewable Energy with Biomass Gasification, request registration materials or inquire about scholarships, contact Karen Cusey at (320) 589-6461 or (800) 842-0030. Contact Cusey via email at this address: cuseyk@morris.umn.edu, or visit the course Web site at the Web site www.morris.umn.edu/cerp/biomass.

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